As the easternmost county in the Charlotte region, Anson is also the most rural and least populated. Although Anson County owes much of its beauty to the fact that it has remained a largely agricultural county, with its rural landscapes untouched by the sprawling growth that has enveloped other parts of the Charlotte region, this lack of growth has also perpetuated a host of economic and social challenges that have caused concern in the county for years, challenges similar to those faced by other rural counties throughout the South, where traditional manufacturing has been in decline and local agriculture has struggled to adapt to mechanization and competition from external markets.
Economically, Anson’s unemployment rate has consistently registered two to three points higher than the regional average, while per capita income has measured lower. Post-secondary educational attainment for Anson’s citizens is nearly half that of the region, while poverty rates have remained high. Underlying all of these figures are social disparities based on race, which mirror national trends but have greater consequences for Anson, with nearly half its population African-American, by far the largest percentage in the Charlotte region. Anson’s challenge is to find the right mix of economic activities where it is uniquely positioned to succeed in order to establish a meaningful role for itself within the increasingly interconnected Charlotte region economy.